Isabella Ochichi, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist at 5000 meters, defeated Paula Radcliffe at the Crescent City Classic 10km yesterday in New Orleans, clocking 30:27, the second fastest-ever performance on the roads.
The 25-year-old Kenyan, who finished third and fifth at last weekend's short and long course races at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, finished 18 seconds ahead of the Briton. Ochichi's clocking was the fastest-ever on U.S. soil, bettering the mark set by Asmae Leghzaoui of Morocco in New York in 2002 by two seconds. Only Radcliffe, who set the World record of 30:21 in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003, has covered the distance faster.
According to several wire story accounts, Radcliffe fell behind Ochichi early on and never threatened. This was the first competitive race for Radcliffe since winning the ING New York City Marathon last November. Radcliffe, also the World record holder in the Marathon, recently finished a three-month training stint in Albuquerque, New Mexico in preparation for next month's Flora London Marathon.
"Getting ready for London has always been my only focus this year," Radcliffe told PA International after saying the race was by no means a distaster. "My legs early on felt a little flat and maybe I should have backed-off on some the miles I was running before coming to this race. But they needed to be done," she added, "and really, I didn't prepare specifically for this race as I might have done. The Marathon always had to come first."
This was the third straight Crescent City Classic victory for Ochichi, who set the previous course record of 31:24 in 2003.